Friday, October 31, 2008

Another Thankful Friday

Well, I'm thankful I still have a job. Business is terribly slow. Some people read during the off time, better than sitting around and talking and then have the manager fuss at you. Myself? I write. Six pages today. I've never had time to do that during my job. A true indicator things are bad. But that's my silver lining. I guess I could then say I'm also thankful I have time to write.

Thursday, October 30, 2008

Oh, My, Look At That!


I came across this article about the Hubble Telescope and it had some awesome pictures. It looked all science fiction but was frightfully beautiful.

Click Here For Pictures.

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Party Time!


I have something to celebrate today. I finished my third book for the year. The most I had ever done before was one in six months and only that one for the year. So I’m very tickled.

Now it’s time to redo the synopsis on A Sheriff to Call Her Own. Much has changed including the murderer. In this one, the bad guy was obvious but he wasn’t the true evil. In an odd twist he actually saves the hero and heroine. In fact, I had another twist at the end that made perfect sense and was what I thought of as the Yang to the beginning Ying. Full circle. All connected.

And of course, I need to edit the manuscript plus my other one, Shadow Healer. But before I do any editing, I have to get my entries into RWA for the Golden Heart contest. I’d lost my mind and entered three. When one or more of my entries are finalists (saying when instead of if for confidence) they will give me a chance to send in edited manuscripts. Only a 24 hr window opportunity, but by March they all should be well-edited and ready.

For those who don’t know what Golden Heart is, it’s the Oscars for the romance writer. There’s two divisions. One is for published authors and their published books, and the other one’s for unpublished authors and their finished manuscripts.

Two of my manuscripts were finalists in the Maggies (one in 2007 and the other this year). A contest many consider to be like the Golden Globes for romance authors.

Well, wish me luck.

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Halloween

History Channel's history.com has some great info on Halloween.

Check it out - click here.

Monday, October 27, 2008

Twilight

I'm still sick, but feeling better. Thankfully by late afternoon I felt like sitting up and typing. Surprisingly, the medicine I'm taking must be helping my concentration. LOL!

Neither here nor there, here's the movie trailer for the most anticipated movie of the year.

Sunday, October 26, 2008

Yesterday

Missed blogging yesterday for two reasons: I was sick and the internet server was sick. Plus I'm still sick and getting ready to go back to bed. Terrible, terrible sinus infection that includes a sinus headache.

See you tomorrow.

Friday, October 24, 2008

What Do Men Want...

...To Read? HA! Gotcha!

As I probably mentioned before, I enjoy Stephen King’s articles in Entertainment Weekly. His humor, intelligence, and plain ol’ horse sense always makes me think and see things from another prospective. Now, it doesn’t mean I agree with everything he says, but I usually learn something new.

Last month his article was “What a Guy Wants.” You can imagine it caught my eye. I’m all the time wanting to infuse in my book what guys want, along with how they think and react to certain situations. Well, we know what all men want...but this article had to do with reading material.

One aspect I find in all of Mr. King’s articles is his respect for women writers. He tells us the publishing industry believes the male readership is shrinking, and because of that, editors are looking for the next breakout female writer. Then he points out “seven out of 10 New York Times hardcover fiction best sellers were by women” in the last week of August. (Click Here to See.) My chapter's own Sherrilyn was Number 3 then; the week before she’d been Number 1.

Then he went on to say women objectify men, as men do women in fiction. I agree we can do that at times. He also says men want the same thing women do when they read, “escape and entertainment.” True.

He talks about how many recent male writers have included female secondary characters who are more than sex kittens a.k.a. James Bond’s BHB (Before Halle Berry) babes.

Okay, I know you’ve been waiting for me to tell you what men want in books. As Mr. King said, “...men like to imagine going to war against an army of bad guys with a Beretta, a blowtorch, and a submachine gun (grenades hung on the belt optional).”

LOL! I love men. Ooh-rah!

Oh, it's Friday. I'm thankful for MEN! What did you expect? BFG!

Thursday, October 23, 2008

My Favorite Bird


Something made me think about this today. I love cardinals. Whenever I see one I smile and think how lucky I am.

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

One Long Summer

I bet all of us at one time or another stared at billowy piles of clouds drifting on a sunny day and fabricated in our mind’s eye snowmen, elephants, dogs, and magnificent castles. As a child, heck, even as an adult, it is one of my favorite pastimes.

My childhood was one long summer. It’s funny but I don’t remember a lot about school but the summers I remember in clear detail. Playing in the woods, building tree-limb forts, catching lightin’ bugs, minnows and tadpoles, climbing trees, and floating in Smith Lake on a Beany and Cecil float. Cecil was my favorite sea-sick sea serpent.

We spent our summers and a lot of fall and spring weekends at that lake. I would gaze at the dark green water, imagining large man-eating catfish and waterlogged coffins--all depending on what tales old Mr. Hightower would entertain me with that day. My sister and I found Indian arrowheads by the red wagon loads. I always wondered why watermelons didn’t pop up in the yard like dandelions after we had one of our seed spitting fights.

At night, bonfires next to the lapping water were for ghost stories, singing and burning marshmallows. Lights from other homes would shoot across the moving water, giving my imagination more fuel as I speculated about the lives of the people on the other shore. Laughter was magnified by the vast openness of the water and the cicadas’ song filled the air, lulling me to sleep each night as I curled up in the top bunk with my little roll-out window open.

Ahh, with a childhood like that, how could I not be a writer?

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Superstar!

Lately, I've been reading a favorite author of mine's backlist. I have all of her books and several of them I haven't read in a long, long time.

WOW! She changes POV in mid-paragraph and on occasion mid-sentence. Loads of back story shows up in the beginning along with lengthy passages of narrative throughout the book.

But her voice shined through like the sun. The stories still pulled me and made me forget everything around me. The emotions were deep and hot. Oh, yeah. She was definitely a superstar waiting to happen.

Plus it gave me hope.

Monday, October 20, 2008

No, It's Not July

Over the weekend I went with my husband to his niece’s 3rd birthday. She had a castle birthday cake and wore a tiara to blow out the candles. Cute, cute, cute.

The party made me remember my children’s birthday celebrations over the years and though we couldn’t afford a lot of things when they were little, I have to say we did a pretty good job of making them fun. I hope they were wonderful memories for them.

You know as you get older, birthdays should still be important, but it’s really up to you to make sure they’re special. I’ve had birthdays at the beach, in the mountains, at home, work and partying until the cows came home. Now, I try to have my immediate family around me, wishing me many more.

Yeah. That’s it. Family. They make every birthday special and I’m thankful for each one that comes around.

Sunday, October 19, 2008

Three Amigos!

This is for Diane and JoAnn. I'm the Martin Short character. Hey, it stands to reason, I am the shortest.

Saturday, October 18, 2008

It's All About Attitude

Yeah, yeah. I know you're tired of reading about good attitudes and positive outlooks, but I had made the decision a few months ago to work on mine. So everyone will just have to suffer along with me.

Not that it's hard to do. It's only you have to play a lot of pretend. And since I'm a writer, I feel I'm rather good at hiding from the hard facts of life.

To keep a good attitude, you have to decide you won't worry about the things you can't change. By myself, I cannot make the price of gas go down, the cost of groceries, taxes, power bills, etc. Instead I think about the things I can change about me. So I bought a treadmill and tell myself it's fun to walk a mile each day while listening to books on my iPod. And I work hard on enjoying the beautiful fall days, love stories on TV, writing on my books, and seeing my children.

Today when I was at the grocery store (which I hate to go) I made myself get into the oldies they like to play and made myself smile (including my eyes) at strangers. You know it's kind of odd people take you smiling for no reason at them. Some smiled back (mostly the older women). Some looked at me as if I planned to steal their purse (younger women). While others would quickly look the other way (men of all ages - the younger because they probably thought I knew their mother and the older because they thought I was flirting with them. LOL!).

Anyway, I came away from a chore I hate doing, feeling pretty good. Yep! Attitude is important.

Friday, October 17, 2008

Young Adult Books

In my heart, I'm still a young adult and I have to say I love to watch the teen movies that come out each year. Still my favorite teen movie of all time is TEN THINGS I HATE ABOUT YOU. The music, the heroine (Julia Stiles), the hero (Heath Ledger), and the comedic relief (Joseph Gordon-Levitt & David Krumhotz - who both grew up to be hunks) were perfect. The Taming of the Shrew was never better.

The real point I'm getting to is if you want to relive your youth, read a young adult book. The angst of the young has changed little in the past 20-30 years. And I would recommend one of the best and funniest, Jennifer Echols. Check her out!
Oh! In spirit of Thankful Friday, I'm thankful for Jennifer Echols!

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Doom and Gloom

I was reading one of my favorite blogs today and the agent was warning of cut backs in book sales, advances, royalties, new contracts, and renewing contracts for some authors. All because the worry people will stop buying as many books as they have before.

Yes. I agree we may see some of this, but I know it will be cheaper for me to buy books online, paper and e-format. I'll probably go on vacation nearer to home and spend about the same as I did last year, or maybe go to fewer conferences. But I doubt I will cut back on books. That's the cheapest vacation I can take.

Things should start getting better next summer. We probably won't recover fully for a couple years. I can go into details about what will probably happen next but why depress everyone.

The important part for me is that books will still be there.

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Cravings





I've been craving my favorite hamburger. A Milo's cheeseburger. If you ever come to Birmingham, you need to check it out. Even Linda Howard loves them. She included them in her book Dying to Please.

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Is There Anyone Out There?

LOL! I woke up with that title running through my early morning cloudy mind. The next thought was "That will be a fast, easy blog." And then promptly forgot what it was to be about. LOL!

Monday, October 13, 2008

Web Presence

Besides my personal blog, you can find me at other locations...

Writing Group Blog: romancemagicians.blogspot.com
Website: www.carlaswafford.com
MySpace: www.myspace.com/carlaswafford

Plus you can find me on FaceBook. LOL!

Sunday, October 12, 2008

I Won!


No. Not a contest. LOL! I bidded for an item on eBay for the first time ever. It was fun. I had to bid two more times at the end. Nothing big. Only 50 cents each time. What did I win? Scrabble tiles. LOL! I'm so much about the words. :-)

Saturday, October 11, 2008

Thankful Friday a Day Late

I keep forgetting to do my thankful Friday blog.

Here it is...I'm thankful I have the type of day job that I don't have to work on the weekends. There are times I have to work overtime but never on Saturdays or Sundays.

I'm thankful and blessed to make enough money to go to conferences and vacations. That wasn't always so.

When I hear several of the members in my writing group talking about working weekends and making just enough to cover their day-to-day living, I wish I could help them. Maybe when my youngest is out of college, I can do something about that. :::sigh:::

Friday, October 10, 2008

Peggy Webb and Elvis


Well, I'm going to Books-a-Million in Brook-Highland tonight to see my buddy Peggy Webb. Her latest book, Elvis and The Dearly Departed is out and I can't wait to buy it. She writes heart warming, funny books. And she's a wonderful person.

She told me once how her grandson announced to the world, "GeeGee, I love you more than bacon." Now that's true love. LOL!

Thursday, October 9, 2008

How Do You See Them?


I was thinking today of when I was growing up I thought of my mom as Lucille Ball (I LOVE LUCY fame) and my dad as John Wayne.

When I told my mom that, she was upset. All mom could think of was how nutty Lucy acted. But if you look at Lucille Ball, really look at her, you will see a beautiful woman. I remember when I was eight or so my mom wore her hair in a French twist and dyed it red. She also loved to play card and board games. In fact, still loves to play games, but her hair is blonde now.

Then there is my dad, six-one, broad shoulders, barrel chest, small hips with a deep voice. I know for a fact he can shoot and ride a horse. I've seen him do both, but not necessarily at the same time. From what I read about John Wayne, he was a wonderful father but not so good husband.

What about you? Does your parents remind you of anyone famous?

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

Synopsis: Even The Word is Not Fun to Type

I'm working on the synopsis for my latest book. The WIP is almost complete. I'm at the climax and finally know who the villain is and how it will end (happy, of course, I'm talking about how did it gets there). So why is it so hard to write? Because I don't want to put too much of the details into it and make it too long. Or make it sound too heavy in mystery/plot and not show the romance. I need to find the perfect balance.

Then again, the synopsis's beginning is better than my old one. The one I wrote before I was even halfway thought the book.

Whoa! The story is so much better now!

Monday, October 6, 2008

Thinking Positive Takes Help

A little over a year ago, depressed with my writing and how long it was taking to break into publishing, I knew my attitude needed to change. What editor or agent wants to talk to a Gloomy-Gus? As I do whenever I’m trying to deal with any unknown area in life, I look for a book on the subject. So I was looking though the inspirational section of Wal-Mart and found The Secret. The book itself was beautifully designed but I purchased the CDs as I’m more apt to listen to self-help books in audio while driving to and from work. I rather read romance in my spare time when I’m not writing.

Now it was a little new age-y but the message was positive and, from everything I read and heard elsewhere, right. It basically said you can have anything you want (money, friends, health, material goods, status, etc.) if you believe you can. And you should start everyday being grateful for what you have and what you will have.

So I started applying the principles with a little revision for my faith and I realized my attitude improved. Then in June I received an unexpected rejection and my spirits fell. Now I knew my depression wasn’t no way as deep as it could’ve been if I wasn’t thinking, working on being positive. Though I do admit it was hard to stay on the path. But it wasn’t just the CDs, it was also the many friends I had in my writing group.

Friends really make the difference.

They’re the ones who email you and ask if you’re okay and tell you when you ready to talk about it, they’ll be there. They’re the ones who tell you when a line in your book is the best they'd ever read and make you believe it. They’re the ones willing to listen and join in your contest judge bashing. They’re the ones who cheer you on when you picking up your not-number-one certificate and make you feel like you’re the next Nora Roberts. They’re the ones who buy you champagne and chocolate-covered strawberries (along with cake) and stay up to two in the morning listening to oldies and talking about old boyfriends and make you feel young again!

And they’re the ones you make a pact to continue to be friends with even when we’re all highfaluting New York Times bestselling authors.

I raise my glass, filled with love and appreciation, to the very best friends I ever had in my life! This is to you, JoAnn Weatherly and Diane Richmond!

Sunday, October 5, 2008

Networking

I find people-watching to be the most interesting part of going to a conference. And on top of that, I enjoy meeting new people and saying hello to those I already know. The last two things are part of what is called networking. I'm so happy something I already enjoy doing is important in the writing business.

So hello again to Teresa Medeiros (thanks for remembering me & we'll treat your buddy, Christina Dodd, well), Margie Lawson (the interstate near Tall-a-dega was clear after all), Tanya Michaels (thank you again for wishing me luck - it worked), Wanda Ottewell (the partial will be sent soon), Jennifer Schober (the email will be coming soon), Anna DeStephano (thank you for your kindness on the stage), Nicki Salcedo (thank you for wishing me luck with my appointment), Emily Sewell (I hope you're getting well-deserved rest), Cathy Mann (you're sweet as ever), Trish Milburn (I'm looking forward to seeing you again November 1 at Southern Magic's Luncheon), Gannon Carr (just let us know if you want to come to the luncheon), Anna Adams (you have one of the nicest smiles), Carmen Green (good to see you again), Pat Trainum (Congratulations on your win!), Patricia Robertson, Jennifer St Giles, Missy Tippens, Debby Giusti, Jacquie D'Alessandro, Susan Goggins, Suzanne Adair, Juli Heaton, Regan Loyd, Heather McCollum, Dianna Shuford, Mary Marvella, Nancy Litzau, and several other wonderful writers.

Third Ain't Bad When You Got Friends

Okay, my book came in 3rd place at the GRW's Maggies in the Unpublished Long Contemporary. At least, Wanda Ottewell asked for the partial. I'm okay with that. I did better than last year. Plus my good, sweet buddies bought me this...

Chocolate-covered strawberries, chocolate cake, carrot cake and other sweets with champagne! Are they the best friends ever? Love you JoAnn and Diane! And it's not the champagne talking!

Friday, October 3, 2008

Thursday, October 2, 2008

Taking A Second

Sorry. Working on my pitch for the agent tomorrow and need some rest. Plus been trying to Bluetooth some pictures, but they wouldn't connect. I'll try tomorrow. See you then. AND YES I'M HAVING A FUN TIME!!!!

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

Conference Bound!

Well, tomorrow I head for Norcross, GA and the Moonlight and Magnolias Conference. My book, A Sheriff to Call Her Own, is a finalist in the Maggies, Long Contemporary category. Wish me luck!

Hopefully I'll find time to blog while I'm there. If not, you know I'm having too much fun. LOL!